Elizabeth King – I Got A Love
As previously mentioned on this site, I’ve been taking a deep dive into blues, R&B, gospel and just about all things early Southern soul music over the last few years. This involved a trek to Memphis and the incredible Stax museum paired with hours digging through the blues and soul section of every Record shop and market I frequent during my travels. It has become an obsession to soak up everything I can about the genre, peoples and communities who created this music. After all that time absorbing the music and culture, I was a bit shocked when Elizabeth King came up in a press email and I was unfamiliar with her brand of sacred soul music. Her career is drenched in the very essence of Southern gospel soul music and I am beyond pleased to share my thoughts on her new album I Got a Love today. Hit the jump for my full thoughts and review.
The musical career of legendary soul singer Elizabeth King has been an interesting and unique journey over multiple decades of life in and out of the spotlight. Her career began in Memphis circa 1969 as a member of The Gospel Souls who later added King’s name to become Elizabeth King and The Gospel Souls. King and The Gospel Souls released a few singles in the early 70s via the gospel label D-Vine Spirituals, and spent much of the decade touring churches and music halls in and around Tennessee, Missouri, and other Southern states. After the 70s though, King stepped away from recording music, never seeing another physical release until 2019 when her old producer Juan D. Shipp gave her a call about going back into the studio. Since that fateful call a few years ago, King has released an album of new music entitled Living in The Last Days in 2021 with her latest album, I Got a Love, coming out tomorrow on Bible & Tire Records.
- Lead single “I Got a Love” is a 70s style piece of gospel soul that would fit in alongside any of the big releases from the Golden Era of 60s/70s Southern soul music.
- Kings voice throughout certainly does not show her nearly 80 year old age. It’s full of life, depth, range, and of course, tons of soul.
- The backing band led by Bible & Tire founder Bruce Watson and his Sacred Soul Sound Section will certainly conjure images of studio musicians Booker T & The M. G.’s of Memphis Stax fame. Lovely horns sections, slick bass, and subtle lead guitar can be heard throughout the album.
- The completely acapella track “Give Me Wings”, featuring backing vocals from King’s own daughters, will surely bring even the toughest soul to be moved near tears. A simply stunning track that brings back a visual memory of that moving moment from Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2 (likely the only memorable thing from Sister Act 2… ha). If you clicked that video, stop play about 1.5 minutes in, it gets painful after that.
- Songs like “I Know I’ve Been Changed” show a woman who sings with so much passion and vigor that she is literally using every last breath in her lungs to belt out her reverence and dedication to her Lord.
Now Show Me
Who is This For?
Anyone looking for high quality soul music in a genre which has felt fairly stagnant for most of the last 10 years. Though it’s classified as “sacred soul”, one does not need to be a frequent church goer to enjoy this type of impassioned and heartfelt music.
- “I Got a Love” – Lead single. Love the video touring older parts of Memphis.
- “I Need the Lord” – 2nd single featuring much more funk and downright nasty sounding electric organ.
Elizabeth King’s new album I Got a Love is a remarkable example of sacred soul worthy of comparisons to her 60s and 70s counterparts from the Golden Era of Memphis soul. Her vocal performance sounds just as soulful and full of energy as it did back when her career started over 5 decades ago. If you are a fan gospel, soul, or just straight R&B, this is one the best examples of honoring the past while moving forward into the future of the genre.